For my ten-day work placement I’ve had the opportunity to work with Stuart Johnston of Kennedy and Boyd in the role of production manager. The project he set out for me was the publication of some of the works of Robert Bontine Cunningham Graham, a Scottish author and the first ever socialist MP in Westminster, who also helped found the Scottish Labour Party.

R.B Cunninghame Graham, Vanity Fair 25th August 1888

Many of his works are currently out of print, and I was asked to work on the first volume of a new publication of his writings bringing together a number of essays and short stories, to be entitled Photographed on the Brain.

My placement has been slightly unusual in that I’ve been asked to work from home, with occasional meetings at the London Book Fair and in Edinburgh for coffee and discussion of the project. Whilst you might think that working from home is something to be envious of, it has required a bit of discipline and focus, as asking questions can only be done via email and enthusiasm for the project is vital!

However, I’ve had the opportunity to really hone my Indesign skills, and discovered first hand some of the challenges of working with numerous authors and editors in bringing the volume of R.B Cunninghame Graham’s work together, along with the various introductions, appendices and commentaries on the text. My first challenge was making sense of the various materials and how they were going to fit together in one book, as each section had its own introduction and contents page.

I’m very grateful for the Creative Toolkit module we undertook last autumn, as I felt that what we learnt left me well prepared for my placement alongside the production skills I gained from the class book project we undertook this spring. Photographed on the Brain – Volume One will be published this summer and I look forward to seeing some of my hard work in print.